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Author Topic: the best paddle ever  (Read 746 times)
KC6PGA
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Posts: 12




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« on: September 28, 2008, 10:54:00 AM »

Yesterday, while practicing at about 30WPM I stripped out the adjustment screw lock down on my hex key. Bencher put coarse pitch screws for adjustment and I may be too picky, but the contacts don't really line up well and the magnet faces are not parallel. There is no reason for this with the accuracy in manufacturing equipment these days. I know because I have a complete CNC machine shop. The Mercury paddle looks good, and I'm sure those contacts are not cheap, but the retail price is nuts. The cost of a manufactured product usually runs 25% of retail and as a machinist I am offended when a distributor and retailer earn more than the guy who built the product in the first place. Manufacturing adds value and middleman subtract, so instead of sitting around complaining about foreign labor, low quality and money ending up in the hand of the middleman let's do some market research.  
What features would all of you like to see in a high quality paddle besides excellent fit and finish? I realize that a true enthusiast could never find absolute perfection in a key, but how could I get close? Help me and I will help you with a reasonably priced high quality key.
 
Thanks
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20567




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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2008, 05:56:55 PM »

I'd say take a look at these and if you can do better, or do the same for a lower selling price, you'll have a waiting and willing market:

http://www.i2rtf.com/html/keys_paddles.html

Begali doesn't use distributors or retailers and sells direct from his shop in Italy.  The keys are very precise and rather sensational in overall quality and feel, and I don't think they're overpriced at all.

But take a look at a few up very close and see...may be possible to reproduce the same quality and feel for lower cost in the U.S.   I have no idea, but I'd buy one if somebody here can make the same key for under $150!

WB2WIK/6
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K9MRD
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Posts: 331




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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2008, 07:58:23 PM »

Take a look at N3ZN's keys.

http://www.n3znkeys.com/

Also, look at the reviews.

http://www.n3znkeys.com/reviews.html

The last two years I spent a great deal of time evaluating the Begali and N3ZN keys at Dayton. I believe N3ZN's are the same quality at half the price of Begali's. Tony, N3ZN, is a craftsman and makes all the keys himself. My N3ZN key is on order now.

Since you are also a machinist, you might want to make one yourself. In my opinion, homemade quality gear (mechanical or electronic) gives one a since of pride.

Wayne
K9mrd  
       
PS - There's a lot more cost involved in bringing a product to market than manufacturing cost.
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W9OY
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Posts: 1295


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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2008, 04:03:33 PM »

I have several keys including the N2DAN Mercury, 2 Begali's and a N3ZN and many older keys like brown brothers and Kent Taylor Bencher and Vibroplex

The best of the bunch is the N3ZN as far as paddle action.  It is small in footprint but still stays put on the desk, it has the lightest arm as far as mass goes and it has very fine adjustment.  The prettiest is either the N2DAN or the Graciella.  

I would look to the ideas of Begali and N3ZN as a starting point.  

73  W9OY
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VE3GNU
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Posts: 86




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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2008, 04:42:24 PM »

You might consider looking into the postings of Ulrich H. Steinberg (DJ8GO)---a recognized authority on the subject of paddles, i.e. "The Foothills of Paddle Mountain"---Dec. 10, 2005, describing his views and experience with the Kent TP-1, the Vibroplex Square Racer, and the Begali Simplex.
73---VE3GNU
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KG1V
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2008, 06:26:00 AM »

K8RA also makes excellent iambic paddles.

73,
George
KG1V
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N9GXA
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Posts: 119




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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2008, 06:44:24 AM »

  Although I have never yet tried it, I think a magnetic paddle return would be nice feature. I have a Bencher BY-1 with spring return. It works. I have nothing against it. I just think the magnets hold a specific setting to tighter tolerances than a spring could - through time and anything else that could affect a spring (temperature, humidity, etc?).

  I don't think I could tell the difference yet, but believe others may be able to notice. Given the choice, I would go magnetic.

73
Paul
N9GXA
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AE5I
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Posts: 124




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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2008, 09:17:23 AM »

The best paddle I've ever used is a Mercury.

If you'd like to see a different approach that really works well, take a look at the old Brown Brothers paddles.  My Brown Bros BTL-A has an absolutely fine feel to it.  They just need a heavier base to keep them in place during operation.

73

Tom AE5I
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K1HS
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2008, 02:40:52 PM »

>>The best paddle I've ever used is a Mercury.<<

Same here, and to think I once owned an original N2DAN version I bought from Steve Nurkiewicz (at his house) shortly before he passed away. And like a fool, I went and sold it some years later! :-( Guess I'll have to settle for the Bencher version now.
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AE5I
Member

Posts: 124




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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2008, 09:04:27 PM »

K1HS wrote: "And like a fool, I went and sold it some years later! :-( "

Man, that's a groaner....  Like me selling a '59 Les Paul Special for a hundred bucks....  But, that was in 1969 and who knew that they'd be worth $7K now?!?  ;-)

I remember having an opportunity to buy an original Mercury online back in the 90s for something like $325 and I wish I'd done it.  I have to say, though, that I can't see anything about my Bencher Mercury that could be improved...

73

Tom AE5I
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K9MRD
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Posts: 331




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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2008, 06:34:22 PM »

""Like me selling a '59 Les Paul Special for a hundred bucks""

I sold a true '10' 1957 fender strat for $250...sure wish I had that one back!!

Wayne
K9mrd
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AE5I
Member

Posts: 124




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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2008, 11:02:09 PM »

Man!  I'm with you there...

As they say, though, it seemed like the thing to do at the time....  ;-)

73

Tom AE5I
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